SPOILER WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for West Coast Avengers #1 by Kelly Thompson, Stefano Caselli and Stefano Caselli.
It has been a very eventful week in Marvel Comics. Venom just got a new superpower, a long-time Spider-Man villain has reemerged and Captain Marvel's rebooted origin story just gets stranger and stranger. But those are hardly the biggest revelations of the week. That award goes to West Coast Avengers #1, which hit the weird comic book motherlode by seemingly introducing a sexy version of M.O.D.O.K. No one could blame you if you had to reread that sentence a few times. It’s a lot to take in.
Nonetheless, it's true. Marvel Comics somehow found a way to turn the evil super-genius scientist who also happens to be an enormous, floating, grotesque head into a dashing young man who likes to kiss (but also still has a big head). Yeah, it's just like that out here on the West Coast. The M.O.D.O.K. offshoot in question is named aptly named B.R.O.D.O.K. Whereas M.O.D.O.K. stands for Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing, B.R.O.D.O.K.'s acronym breaks down to Bio-Robotic Organism Designed Overwhelmingly for Kissing. Readers get a glimpse at B.R.O.D.O.K.'s "powers" at play when he lands a wet one right on Kate Bishop's lips.
How B.R.O.D.O.K.'s powers (if we're going to stoop to calling them that) will play into helping -- or hindering -- the nascent West Coast Avengers team is anyone's guess, but he's not to be wholly discounted. He's visually concerning and his penchant for nonconsensual kissing is worrying at best, but don’t underestimate him. Not just yet. The reason for that is that West Coast Avengers #1 is seeded with references to science gone amok. Genetic abnormalities and clones gone awry tend to lead back to A.I.M., once a criminal organization of rogue scientists that gave no end of grief to the Marvel Universe's many heroes.
The organization was scattered to the wind a few years ago, fracturing into sects like W.H.I.S.P.E.R. and the more benevolent R.E.S.C.U.E., all while the A.I.M. named continued to be used by the organization's most fringe-but-fervent adherents. West Coast Avengers #1 might signal their return in a big way, or it could be teasing a new splinter group looking to claim the mantle of Marvel's resident mad scientists.
B.R.O.D.O.K. is the latest in a long line of iterations on M.O.D.O.K. Marvel has long been unafraid to tweak the villain's defining acronym to spawn new, bizarre creations. For example, Incredible Hulk #290 introduced the world to Ms. M.O.D.O.K., a S.H.I.E.L.D. operative who was turned into a mirror image of the villain in an attempted coup by A.I.M. Most M.O.D.O.K. offshoots are minor characters played for laughs, though. B.R.O.D.O.K. has all the hallmarks of a character created for the sake of a goof, but West Coast Avengers #1 teases there there's a lot more going on beneath that pretty boy veneer and frighteningly weighty cranium.